Atlanta Man Sentenced for operating “Operation Homeless” Scheme in Idaho
The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.
BOISE – Nichlas Simpson, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for committing bank fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez announced. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Simpson to pay back $21,249.17 in restitution to victims of his scheme. Simpson pleaded guilty on February 21, 2017.
Pursuant to his plea agreement, Simpson came to Idaho and perpetrated a fraud scheme known throughout the country as “Operation Homeless.” Simpson and his co-conspirators started by stealing local businesses’ checks from postal boxes.
Simpson then traveled to Boise-area homeless shelters and recruited homeless youth for the scheme, telling them that they would be performing day labor for a construction business. Instead, the co-conspirators created forged checks that were made payable to the homeless individuals and were drawn on the accounts of the businesses whose checks had been stolen from the mail. Simpson then directed the homeless individuals to cash the checks at local banks. Simpson and his co-conspirators kept the vast majority of the proceeds.
“This sentence is a just punishment for Simpson’s fraud and for the financial harm he caused his victims,” said Gonzalez. “The Court’s restitution order is an important step in achieving justice for the financial damage Simpson caused his victims.”
“The Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to protecting the security of the U.S. Mail system and holding those accountable who would victimize the Postal Service and its customers,” said Anthony Galetti, Inspector in Charge of the Seattle Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Boise Police Department.